Bread is ordinary, daily, for most people necessary nourishment, and a key symbol of our salvation. Remember the unleavened bread of the Exodus. God delivered our ancestors from slavery in Egypt. Pushed out, they had to leave quickly, without time for their bread to rise or make other provisions. All they had was their daily dough, and they could not prepare it as they were accustomed. They had to leave “before it was leavened, with their kneading bowls wrapped up in their cloaks on their shoulders.”[i]
Remember manna in the wilderness. God provided ancient Israel with bread from heaven in the wilderness for forty years. Our parents asked: “What is it?” God said take a measure of this bread from heaven every morning. More will come tomorrow. Don’t hoard it. I will give you enough.[ii]
Remember earlier in the Gospel of John, Jesus turned a few loaves and fish into a meal for thousands. Followed by a crowd, Jesus raised the question of how to feed them. The disciples said: “Six months wages would not buy enough bread.” Jesus said: “Make the people sit down. … Jesus gave thanks and distributed the food, … as much as they wanted.”[iii]
1 Peter 2:2-10
Those of you who have had an opportunity to stay with us here at the monastery or have had an occasion to join us for a Sunday meal know that I am a foodie. I enjoy cooking and eating all kinds of food, but most I most especially have a passion for southern cooking. While I love living here in New England and jump at an occasion to enjoy a Lobster Roll or warm up with a bowl of chowder, one of the things that I miss the most are the tastes of home. And so on the Sundays when I volunteer to cook lunch, I more often than not will cook food with a southern flair: Chicken Fried Shortribs, a variety of greens wilted in a homemade bacon jam, and classic peach cobbler a la mode is just one of the many meals you may experience when I’m in the kitchen.